What is a carer?

When people need help with their day to day living they often turn to their family and friends. Looking after each other is something that we do. Often people do not recognise themselves as ‘carers’ they are simply doing what they can to help a loved one. They would probably say that they are just being a husband, a wife, a mum, a dad, a son, a daughter, a friend or a good neighbour. Without the right help and support these informal carers can struggle to sustain the level of care they provide, and experience a negative impact on their own health and wellbeing. 

The reasons people might need help can vary, their problems may be physical or psychological. Carers help with supporting of the patients at diagnosis or when receiving bad news, and through the frustrations of not being able to do things as before or having to give up on things, and their feelings useless. Carers help with personal things like getting someone dressed, turning them in their sleep, helping them to the toilet and bathroom, helping them move about their home or administering their medication. Carers also help with things like shopping, laundry, cleaning, cooking, filling in forms or managing money.

Carers Week

12th - 18th June is carers week. Carers Week is a national campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlighting the challenges carers face and recognising the contribution they make. You can find out more about carers week here.

For Carers Week 2017 we have spoken to some of our hospice staff about how important carers are to the patients. We also spoke to a carer, who very honestly shares her experiences with us. During the week we will add voice clips and quotes. 

In our third voice clip, we hear from Helen, part of our Therapy Team, about one of the practical ways she helps carers to support their loved ones.



We are very humbled that one particular carer was willing to share her thoughts about her experiences, whilst caring for her terminally ill husband.

Our second voice clip is by Bridget Prusik, one of the charity's Complementary Therapists.



Our first voice clip is by Sarah Barrett, a member of the charity's Therapy Team.

Support for carers

"Cornwall Hospice Care is an organisation that recognises the very valuable role carers play in supporting patients, and that caring for terminally ill people is stressful on multiple levels. Carers find themselves in situations for which they have had very little preparation." Michelle Earle, Therapy Manager, Cornwall Hospice Care.

Many patients are supported and cared for by their family and friends, but without the right help and support these informal carers can struggle to sustain the level of care they provide, and experience a negative impact on their own health and wellbeing.

We understand that carers need to have access to the support they need – when they need it – and be recognised as expert partners in care. Carers should feel able to positively influence the support that both the service user and they themselves receive.

With this in mind Cornwall Hospice Care staff are always here to listen and help where we can.

Useful links

Macmillan - Look after someone with cancer

Cornwall Council support

Care & Support in Cornwall

Carers UK